Berlin council

BERLIN — Berlin has just passed another big milestone in its unfolding journey as Cullman County’s youngest municipality: getting the all-clear signal from the first-ever audit of of its financial and accounting practices.

At its regular meeting Monday, the Berlin town council accepted the findings covering its first full fiscal year in operation, as well as a separate audit covering the most recent fiscal year ending in 2020. Required by state law to be conducted by an independent third party, the audit was performed by Cullman-based Larry G. Cooke, CPA, LLC.

“We had only minor findings pertaining, from our earliest days as a town, to our need to adopt accounting software to track our finances,” said Berlin mayor Patrick Bates Monday. “But that was a weakness we had already addressed shortly after we became a town, so we’ve been in compliance with that recommendation for a long time now.

“Other than that, there were no findings of any significance at all; just the recommendation that we use a software-based accounting package. That was something that we were, of course, already doing since early on. Overall, we’re very pleased to have come out with a clean audit right from the start.”

Berlin residents voted in 2018 to incorporate, and during the early months of its setup operation, the town used a paper-based ledger to track its finances, explained town clerk Keirstyn Montgomery. But the town adopted QuickBooks, Intuit’s widely-accepted accounting software, soon afterward, and has continued using the software to record the use of its public funds.

In a related measure Monday, the council approved a change in its ongoing periodic payment for the QuickBooks service, a necessary move to adjust for the service’s recent increase in cost. The subscription-based service has raised its monthly charge from $70 to $80, and the council unanimously agreed to absorb the $10 per-month price increase in order to continue using the software.

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